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Startup by Harvard MBAs to Sell Access to Admitted Students’ Application Essay Sets

A startup business venture by six Harvard Business School (HBS) MBAs will give prospective applicants access, for a fee, to actual sets of application essays written by candidates recently admitted to the school, according to a recent article in Poets&Quants.

Called MBA Bee to convey the idea of “spreading the pollen of knowledge,” the main purpose of the new venture is to give applicants from international, military or other nontraditional backgrounds the same kind of access to information that counterparts from more traditional backgrounds like finance and consulting more typically have, say its founders. “We want to lower the barrier between the people who have the knowledge and the people who desire it,” May Lam, one of the startup’s co-founders, told P&Q. “For them, it’s a lot more like shooting in the dark. Once you see a couple of essay sets you will see some underlying themes that will help you present your best candidacy.”

The goal of MBA Bee will be to build a database of successful essay sets which potential applicants can then buy according to key criteria that matches their own, such as career experience, age, and whether they are an international or domestic applicant, P&Q reports. And at least to start, the company’s founders have convinced fellow classmates to surrender their own actual application’s essays for free, though they would consider a revenue-share agreement if it allowed them to build out the business and expand to other top schools, they told P&Q.

MBA Bee is not the first to seek to sell access to successful HBS application essays – editors of HBS’s The Harbus student newspaper have put out two editions of “65 Successful Harvard Business School Application Essays” since 2004. But the startup’s founders think that providing essay answers from the same applicant to each of HBS’s four application questions sets their offering apart. “We felt there is a big need in the market for essay sets so applicants can see how successful applicants told their stories from start to finish,” Lam told P&Q.

MBA Bee last month launched its first website,, where it will target military applicants, selling separate sets of essays from successful HBS applicants from each the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines Corps and Navy. The selling price will be $100 per set, though they are available now for a special introductory offer of $50.

Though not officially endorsed by the school, the new essay-selling startup is an outgrowth of HBS’s recently revised MBA curriculum, in which student teams receive seed money from the school to create and launch a new product or service development project, P&Q reports.

For the complete P&Q article, click here.

Posted in: MBA News

Schools: Harvard Business School

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